INTRODUCTION

MY FIRST CONFERENCE TALK was a keynote—by accident.

I’d prepared a deeply technical talk on web performance, heavy on the “how” of image and markup optimizations. I’d designed and timed my slides, gathered feedback from coworkers, and practiced over and over. I was nervous about going onstage and having a spotlight shining on me, but I was confident my information was accurate and helpful to a technical audience.

Days before the conference, I took a look at the schedule and realized I was slotted into the opening talk—the keynote, a spot intended to inspire a much more general audience than the one I’d planned on. Whoops. I tried to revamp my slides to be more approachable and to end with a bigger kick.

But that was just the ...

Get Demystifying Public Speaking now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.